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Morrison’s push to preserve Menangle history in new suburb

Cr Warren Morrison in front of the Beersheba monument on the corner of Menangle Road and the newly renamed Beersheba Parade, Menangle Park.

Rich history, worth preserving: Cr Warren Morrison in front of the Beersheba monument on the corner of Menangle Road and the newly renamed Beersheba Parade, Menangle Park.

Imagine living in a suburb where the history of the land it’s built on is all around you.

From interactive street signs connecting to apps containing information about the name on the sign to parks full of heritage items, no generation living in that suburb will ever be ignorant of its history.

That’s the heritage dream of one Campbelltown councillor for one of the area’s most historic precincts.

Everyone knows Menangle Park for trotting races and Sunday markets, plus the annual Campbelltown Show — if you are of a certain vintage.

But there is so much more to this hilly landscape barely five minutes by car from the heart of Campbelltown.

Around 100 acres of land north of the old Menangle Paceway and once known as Thomas Vardy Estate, was rezoned in November last year for urban development, including around 3,400 residential lots, a new commercial centre, employment land, open space plus community and recreation facilities.

It is in this new Campbelltown suburb Councillor Warren Morrison wants the rich history of Menangle preserved for ever.

That history includes Menangle being a major army training base for both World War I and II training ground.

Many of the men who did their last batch of training at Menangle before being shipped to Europe and other war zones had previously been stationed in barracks located at Narellan.

One, who served in World War II, was an uncle of Warren Morrison.

The most famous of all army units to train at Menangle was the Australian 12th Light Horse Infantry Regiment, which fought in the Battle of Beersheba.

Military records confirm that local Light Horse ranks contained many of Macarthur’s skilled horseback riders.

A magnificent monument to the Battle of Beersheba has been erected on the corner of Menangle Road and Beersheeba Parade.

“It’s just incredible how much history there is around here, and this new suburb will be right in the middle of it all,’’ Cr Morrison said.

The Vardys Estate silos.

The Vardys Estate silos.

But it’s not just war history he wants to keep alive forever – Thomas Vardy Estate has its own major agricultural tradition both as a dairy and wheat farm.

Still standing there as testament to farming in Campbelltown are twin silos and Cr Morrison says it’s important they are retained in some form or another for future generations.

“It would be perfect timing as we head towards the Campbelltown bicentennial in 2020 to try to preserve our history wherever possible,’’ he said.

“The silos can be seen from Hume Highway and they are a visible reminder of our past as an agricultural region.’’

If he had his way, Cr Morrison said he would have the silos retained as part of parklands in the new suburb, which could be called Lighthorse Park commemorating Beersheba.

But at present there are no plans to retain the silos on the site, even in a modified form.

However the developer, Dahua Group Australia says they would consider alternative suggestions which are feasible.

A recent report on the silos said of their significance:

“The proposed removal of the silos in the southern portion will have a greater than minor heritage impact.

“Although the silos are not listed on any statutory registers, they are important to the local area as evidence of dairying in the Campbelltown district, and dairying practices in the 1930s.

“They are examples of a standard concrete silo design promoted by the NSW Government Department of Agriculture during the 1930s Depression as structures associated with the NSW Government unemployment relief scheme of that period.

“Consideration should be given to partial retention of the silos for interpretational purposes.’’

Cr Morrison concurs.

“Yes, I would be happy with that,’’ he says.

“What I’d like is having something that all children down the generations will use to learn the history of the suburb they call home.’’



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